President: My Plan Equals $4T In Deficit Reduction

President Obama says he’s offering $4 trillion in federal deficit reduction as part of his solution to avert the coming federal budget cuts known as the sequester, including more than $2.5 trillion he’s already signed into law. “I’ve laid out a plan that details how we can pay down our deficit in a way that’s balanced & responsible,” the president says via an official White House tweet. Set to kick in Friday, the sequester is a “doomsday device” enacted as part of the budget deal in 2011. The president warned in his recent State of the Union speech of dire consequences if the sequester was allowed to take effect, however. The sequester could lead to widespread layoffs and other economic woes. Democrats … Continue reading

Gun Control On Biden’s Agenda With Mayors Next Week

With the White House poised to take executive action on new federal regulation of guns in the United States, the point man on those efforts will discuss the issue, and others, next week with the nation’s mayors. Vice President Biden is set to address gun control, as well as other matters, on January 17 in Washington when he addresses a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Biden has been leading the administration’s new efforts to control firearms since the massacre in Newtown, Conn. More than 270 of the nation’s mayors will convene in Washington, in the midst the Presidential Inaugural to meet with congressional leaders and administration officials to push for a balanced approach to deficit reduction and sequestration … Continue reading

Senator Kerry’s Statement on President Obama’s Budget Proposal

President Obama unveiled his federal budget proposal today. The reactions have varied across partisan lines. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry issued the following statement on President Barack Obama’s federal budget proposal today: “This is a balanced blue print to grow our economy, make some tough deficit reduction choices, and end the tax breaks for the wealthiest that never created jobs and gave us deficits in the first place. This plan maintains critical investments in research and development, education, and clean energy that will create jobs and strengthen economic recovery. It doubles down on supporting the next generation of roads, railways, and bridges as well as the development of a National Infrastructure Bank based on my bi-partisan proposal with Senators Hutchison and … Continue reading

In The Supercommittee Blame Game, Fingers Point To Just One Republican

The failure this week of the so-called congressional supercommittee to agree on a package to reduce the federal budget deficit comes down not only to Republican intransigence, but really to that of just one conservative in particular, a man referred to as the “13th member” of the committee. Specifically, many on both sides — including Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, a prominent member of the supercommittee — called out Grover Norquist, the extremely powerful anti-tax activist in Washington, for his role in keeping Republicans from agreeing to any new taxes. Norquist wields much of his power due to the anti-tax pledge signed by most Republicans in Congress, and his ability to enforce that oath by working to defeat any who … Continue reading

‘The Supercommittee Must Fail,’ Congress Is Told

By focusing on deficit reduction, not job creation, the so-called congressional supercommittee is focused entirely on the wrong problems and therefore, the nation would be better off it were to fail to come up with a deal, progressive members of Congress were told Wednesday. Indeed, the sorts of budget-cutting likely to be recommended by the supercommittee, known formally as the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, likely would only worsen the already-bleak U.S. unemployment situation, according to Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, a progressive policy organization. “For this nation to succeed, the supercommittee must fail,” Borosage says. Borosage was one of those invited to testify Wednesday at a hearing called by the Congressional Progressive Caucus focusing on … Continue reading

Pelosi: The Supercommittee’s Work Should Be ‘Public Domain’

Even as lawmakers wrangle over the details of the work of the so-called supercommittee, the top House Democrat is calling for more openness in the decision-making of the bipartisan deficit-reduction panel. Created by last summer’s federal debt deal, the members of the supercommittee have just until Thanksgiving to find $1.2 trillion over 10 years in deficit-reduction. Members of the panel, known officially as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, have been conducting all of their important negotiating entirely behind closed doors. Predictable partisan jostling began this week as details of those talks began coming public. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi warned that the final package put forward by the 12-member supercommittee “cannot be a product of secrecy.” “You know, … Continue reading

Capitol Idea: Occupy vs the Supercommittee: How the Movement Could Soon Impact the Debate

To the consternation of some, and the joy of others, the ballooning Occupy Wall Street movement has so far resisted injecting itself into the nation’s political debate. Even without a concrete list of policy goals or demands, however, there is a growing sense that, by simply existing and persevering, the month — old movement already is exerting a new influence. President Obama, for instance, has appeared to be taking a more forceful, populist, and progressive tone in recent weeks. And Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) has explicitly given Occupy Wall Street credit for the renewed energy on the left: “We’re coming together. Maybe the protesters unified the Democratic Party.” If Occupy Wall Street is indeed exerting a new gravitational pull leftward, … Continue reading